The Cape Race – Home, Truths (Review)

The Cape Race - Home, Truths

After a debut release as utterly brilliant as Now, Voyager three years is a fair amount of time to wait for a follow-up, but after some doubts about whether it would ever see the light of day Home, Truths , the first full-length from Manchester band The Cape Race is well worth the wait, living up to the promise and potential the band showcased in spades of their 2011 mini-album. I mention that it’s been three years, but I don’t mention it begrudgingly – anything but. After struggles to find a label it’s fitting that Home, Truths sounds absolutely triumphant in the aftermath of its pre-release issues. This is certainly a record which deserves to be heard, and the band can take pride in fighting for just that, and also in releasing a record this damn good.

Debut releases don’t come much more convincing than Now, Voyager, and it’s refreshing to see The Cape Race try a few new things on Home, Truths despite finding a winning formula very early on. The bands approach has always been to deliver a ‘larger than life’ sound, and that continues here, but their first full-length sees the five-piece explore, branching out noticeably on the roots they established with their debut whilst throwing in some of their older material as well. Home, Truths doesn’t settle for half-measures; it’s a record which constantly aims high and constantly hits the heights we’ve come to expect following their debut, and it hits them in a few different ways. This is a stadium-sized record from a band who are nowhere near selling out stadiums, and it’s packed with choruses that put many of the genres bigger names to shame. The Cape Race know how to write songs which sound absolutely huge, and Home, Truths delivers them time after time. The band reference Jimmy Eat World on the records closer, but they aren’t far off in terms of scope; a lot of the bigger moments here could rival some of the equally ‘big’ moments in that bands discography, there’s definitely a Chase This Light ambition here, and Home, Truths is equally infectious, staying with you long after it’s finished.

Opener Digging For Gold is an instant introduction to just what The Cape Race have to offer, and it’s a fair representation of their style as a whole, cinematic and grandiose, reserved during verses which seem to be building to something brilliant and do as breezy, melodic guitars lead into a towering chorus which is the first of many to make full use of David Moloney’s distinctive vocals. For a drama teacher his delivery is suitably dramatic, and you won’t hear many performances as good as his this year. On tracks like the opener he pushes himself, and the result is quite something as he bellows alongside skyscraping instrumentation. His vocals are powerful throughout, be it during the swinging chorus of the spirited title track or the somber, reflective verses of The Reprieve. He makes it sound effortless, and pairing his vocals with equally impressive instrumentation makes for some truly special moments, the first few of which fall on the opener and fall fairly regularly after that. The few songs on Home, Truths following Digging For Gold clearly show the progression The Cape Race have made over the past few years, and compared to the older songs on the record they definitely stand apart. Third track Vines is the darkest thing the band have ever done as brooding, thick instrumentals stomp as Moloney echoes and pleads ‘Oh please won’t you take me home’ during a song which initially feels quite weird but soon grows on you. It’s a bold new direction for the band, and it’s one which they pull off, likewise with following track Collapsing. In contrast to Vines there’s a very upbeat, jaunty feel to this song; it cheerily bounces in a way reminiscent of New Again-era Taking Back Sunday, and it does so whilst spinning a tale of delightful decadence.

Like Digging For Gold a few of the songs on Home, Truths have been floating around for a while but, like the opener, none of them have lost their appeal. Four of the songs here featured on the bands 2011 debut, and although I would’ve preferred a few more new tracks in their place, each is excellent. Fifth track Bets pairs some powerful lyrics with equally powerful instrumentation, rising and falling with graceful life, and when it peaks for a final chorus it  presents one of the records defining moments, a rousing climax to a truly sublime piece of music. The Reprieve follows, and what was arguably the stand-out track on Now, Voyager remains one here. It’s incredible, flickering during a calm yet striking verse and then bursting into life for a charged, emphatic chorus which again sees the band deliver something remarkable. It’s also the strongest song lyrically, painting the albums best picture as the second verse features the lines ‘I’m dressed as death and I am taking to the floor / Spreading curses and condemning every reveler I’ve scorned ’til there was bodies, there was music and there was me / I’ll be the beautiful centre to a perfect Halloween’. There’s certainly a vulnerability to the song even in its more dynamic moments, and the same can be said for closer Now, Voyager, which remains one of the best ways to close out an album, epic in every sense of the word as it swells and crashes, emotions building and eventually pouring forth when the record reaches its final crescendo, another highlight on a record devoid of lows as everything seems to come to a head right at the death.

There’s some real weight to a lot of the songs on Home, Truths upon deeper reading, but it’s the albums least burdened track (rivalled with Collapsing) which soars the most, as They’re Young, They’re In Love tells of carefree youth uninhibited, encapsulated exuberantly in a joyous, uplifting chorus. I’m biased considering the song is the second most-played in my iTunes library, but there’s a reason I value it so highly; it’s a purely enjoyable song through and through which still leaves me with a smile three years on. It falls after the more serious You Should Have Known, which tells of a parting of ways and sounds slightly odd preceding a song which preaches some sort of joint escape. As Moloney sings ‘I was just looking for somewhere to waste my time /  you should’ve known, you should’ve known’ it’s one of the heavier tracks lyrically, thoughtful and well expressed, featuring some great complementing female vocals which tell it from a different angle as the song enters a calm, cathartic final minute. Much like Vines and Collapsing it shows that The Cape Race don’t need to be loud to be at their best, and it offers a glimpse of painful reality before the jubilance of They’re Young, They’re In Love.

The deluxe edition of the record features the two Now, Voyager songs which didn’t make the standard edition (Barcelona and Little Whites), as well as an alternate version of Bets, which is an interesting, albeit slightly underwhelming take on the original. Whereas the two tracks preceding it are traditionally boisterous the deluxe edition’s closer is a chilled, almost a capella remix of sorts as Moloney’s vocals ring out over starry electronics and mellow drums. It half works, and half doesn’t, but it’s a charming spin on a long-time favourite which displays an entirely different side to the band’s music. If you’ve yet to enjoy Now, Voyager then the deluxe edition of Home, Truths is an absolute must, but if you’re already familiar with it then the alternate version of Bets might not be enough to necessarily sway you.

Overall, Home, Truths is almost everything I wanted it to be, and as a whole I expect it’ll be one of the best rock records I hear this year, particularly from a British band. It’s fair to say that The Cape Race remain one of the hottest prospects emerging in the scene, and their debut LP is bold and dynamic, an absorbing listen which fires (and excels) on numerous fronts, building on Now, Voyager, mixing in some new and interesting ideas whilst keeping everything which made that release so endearingly entertaining.

Rating: 9/10
Listen to: Digging For Gold, You Should Have Known, Now, Voyager

You can pick Home, Truths up from iTunes here and stream it below.

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